Have you heard — sitting is the new smoking? It’s true, and while we’re slouching in our office chairs, sitting for anywhere from 50% to 70% of our waking lives, our bodies are suffering. This type of sedentary lifestyle can lead to all sorts of problems, including extremely serious stuff like diabetes. The solution? Get up, and get a desk that can stand with you.
This is the Stir Kinetic Desk. It’s been called the iPhone of standing desks, and for good reason:
It’s super sleek, and seriously smart. It has a built-in thermal sensor which can easily determine whether you’re standing or sitting. You can set it to your custom height and over time it learns your preferences. Have a habit of standing up at around 3 p.m. so that you don’t fall asleep? Done. It’s all very Zen-like, and it promotes healthy habits that will carry you through your day.
The control panel is an iPod-like touch-screen which helps you set goals, track progress — like how many extra calories you’ve burned or monitor how much time you’ve spent sitting versus standing. It even has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality, plus eight power outlets and a handful USB ports.
With a starting price of nearly $4,000, this is the luxury model standing desk. It’s a beautiful piece of furniture with the brains to make you healthy.
The GeekDesk Max is another fantastic piece of office gear that will get you to straighten your knees. With electronic height adjustment, dual built-in motors, and a maximum lifting capacity of 335 pounds, it’s a standing desk for the hard-core office worker. Program up to four preset heights for one-touch adjustment and never worry about office chair back strain again!
The GeekDesk Max is offered in several options to fit both the look and feel of your workspace. Choose from three desktop sizes, two finishes — a warm wood grain or black laminate — and two frame colors to create a powerful, reliable standing desk that is uniquely “you.”
You can score a GeekDesk Max for less than $1,000, which makes it a bit more expensive than most static desks, but not by much. Add in the health benefits and it most definitely pays off. If you want to take a closer look, take a look at the Tech Now videos, where the the GeekDesk MAx has moonlighted as the main display table for our bi-weekly series.
Want your desk to be just as much a piece of eye candy as it is a functional piece of furniture? The NextDesk Terra is definitely one of the most eye-catching electric standing desks on the market. Available in three shades of natural bamboo, it’s downright gorgeous to look at, and since bamboo is a highly sustainable resource you can feel even better about your decision to get a bit more healthy.
The Terra features three memory preset heights, an all-aluminum frame made from super strong aircraft-grade material, and is available in three powder coated finishes. The desk’s proprietary Opti-Sync feature ensures that the desk lifts and lowers evenly, and the entire system is dust, air, and moisture resistant for long life. If speed is your priority, the Terra is also has the fastest lifting speed of all the desks in its price range.
For around $1,500 depending on your tastes, it’s not the most affordable option, but for quality and good looks it gets high marks.
If you’re looking for a bit more control over the components that go into a new office setup, Ergotron offers a suite of furniture and accessories that allow you to build exactly what you have in mind. You can start with one of the height-adjustable basic standing desks, and add on individual monitor stands, extra platforms for keyboards, mice or even an extra laptop if needed.
The modular nature of Ergotron’s products means there are endless customization options to suit just about everyone, and since you only need to purchase the items you absolutely need, there’s a good chance it’ll find a way to fit into your budget.
The base standing desk costs $699, with additional components starting at around $250.
But maybe you’re not entirely convinced that the standing desk revolution is, indeed, upon us and you’d rather avoid dropping a grand or more just to try it out. No problem! There are plenty of ultra affordable options that can give you a taste of just what it’s all about, but the cheapest solution is definitely to build one yourself.
You’ll find guides on creating standing desks all over the Web, but the most all-encompassing guide comes from Colin Nederkoorn, who teamed up with a friend to find the cheapest high-quality components and built a standing desk for less than $22 in parts from Ikea.
The desk add-on sits on top of your current office desk and features a sturdy design and even a separate keyboard and mouse platform. For the price of a few Starbucks lattes, you can join the standing desk crew, too!
And the winner is …
I should note that we tried all of these desks over a period of six months — with the final goal of choosing one to become the new centerpiece of our set for our bi-weekly video series, Tech Now. Stir Works was the stand-up winner for form, function, futuristic tech promise and flat-out fantastic aesthetic. While the price tag is steep, we hope to save up enough spare change soon, and can’t wait to get it back on the set for good.
Jennifer Jolly is an Emmy Award-winning consumer tech contributor and host of USA TODAY’s digital video show TECH NOW. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @JenniferJolly.